Mia Costa is a rising fourth-year majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology. She currently works in the Human Agility Lab with chronic stroke patients.

Tell me about your SURG topic.

Costa: My project is a preliminary study to see if they go in depth with a prolonged study later on with patients with chronic stroke. When people have chronic stroke, they have deficits in one of their sides that impacts their walking balance and their gait. At the lab, they invented a device – it’s like a robot – we call it a movement amplification device. Basically, what I’m doing is I’m seeing with a six week intervention, if there’s any short term improvements with that over the summer. Based on my data, the lab is going to assess to see if we invest in a long term setting.

What would you say is the most challenging part of research like this?

Costa: I think dealing with human participants gets pretty challenging. You always have something in mind and nothing’s going to go according to plan. A lot of participants will cancel last minute or they’ll be late. We also have to work with physical therapists to run the session, so aligning physical therapists that we bring from Shirley Ryan with human participant schedules gets a little challenging sometimes.

What would you say is the best part of research like this?

Costa: Definitely the people in the lab. Everyone’s been super nice. I don’t have any horror stories. I think it’s a great lab environment. Everyone’s so relaxed. And it is fun working with physical therapists too. It’s such a big team. I knew going into research I did not want to be in a wet lab or a lot of neuroscience labs [where] you work with mice, and I knew that was just not for me. I really like working with people because at the end of the day, it is just someone else that you get to talk to and get to know, which is really fun.

Meet the other SURG Recipients!